5 Foods That Are Hurting Your Hair Health

A major upside to maintaining a healthy diet is nourished skin and hair. But have you ever thought about what foods might be hurting your hair? When it comes to nutrition, choosing what to eat isn't always easy. If you're faced with a kale salad when all you really want is curly fries and a shake, then you know how hard it can be sometimes to choose the traditionally "healthy" thing over the fries. Because fries. While, of course, it's your choice whether you want to eat fries or salad, and you should rock that choice no matter what, it's always good to know what foods affect different parts of your body and how they're doing so — whether they're "healthy" or not.

There are a few food facts that are important to know: Add healthy fats to your diet and you may see your skin clear up. Drink tons of water and you'll probably notice a little bit of a glow. Up your greens intake and you might experience less bloat. But what exactly can you get rid of (or at least cut back on) from your diet that might, in turn, boost your hair health? There are plenty of foods that surprisingly take away from your hair's luster, thickness, and overall health. Find out below which unlikely food and drink choices could be keeping your hair from its luscious, hair-flipping potential.

1. Juice Cleanses

If you're under the impression that juice cleanses are all about improving your health — think again. Being on an all-juice diet likely means very little protein, which is what your hair is actually made of and requires in order to be strong and healthy. According to the Today Show, overloading on sugar (which is found in many fruit-based juices) causes inflammation to the follicles — something that can make your hair fall out. So if you already have concerns about thinning hair, you may want to make sure you're getting enough protein.

2. Fish That Is High In Mercury

Most fish don't have high mercury levels — canned light tuna, crab, and trout tend to be safe — but others like swordfish and mackerel can have a negative impact on your hair health.

Dermatologist Jessica Wu, M.D., author of Feed Your Face and the skin and beauty expert at Daily Glow says, "Some fish contain high levels of mercury, and high levels of mercury can lead to hair loss."

3. Sugar

Although it is tasty beyond compare, sugar is known for causing premature aging. According to, after taking a bite of something sweet, your body produces insulin as a response, which also causes a male hormone called androgen to be released. This hormone can make hair follicles shrink and hair loss occur at a more rapid rate.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it speeds up dehydration. That is bad news when it comes to hair and skin health, as anyone who has woken up the next day from a particularly crazy night knows. Your face and your throat certainly feel dried out and you might not realize, but your hair might feel the same. Dehydration causes hair to feel brittle and dry, and excessive alcohol consumption can even contribute to hair loss, according to WebMD

5. Pizza, Pasta, And Other Starchy Foods

Basically any food with a high-glycemic level might be bad news for your hair health. According to Livestrong, starchy foods like white breads, pastas, and cakes can have effects similar to sugar, with spiked insulin levels resulting in some serious follicle shrinkage — and ultimately hair loss. Not everyone is meant to have a gluten-free diet, despite its recent years in the spotlight, but most Americans can do with cutting back on high-glycemic foods. Especially for your hair's sake!

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